noideadog: (natural dancer)
We had our childbirth class today. The nurse got us to practice Lamaze breathing exercises and made sure we understood that everything we'd learned from tv was wrong. "If you breathe like they do on soap operas, you'll just be dizzy. We're going to do long slow breaths, with short breaths for the peaks. Do they work? No, of course they don't work! They're just to distract you." I appreciated the honesty.

We talked through all of the ways things could progress and watched as a (largish) plastic doll made its way through a (smallish) plastic pelvis in several unlikely ways. Nobody fainted, but we were all a bit quiet and thoughtful by the end of the day. I mean, I guess I already knew most of this stuff, but I knew it in the interesting theoretical way that you can know things that are on the internet. It's different when the things are supposed to apply to you in some way. And in the next six to eight weeks, most likely. Surely not.

The hospital instructions form doesn't have a checkbox for "all of the drugs please, and also a martini and whatever you're having yourself", but I think they've left room to write it in.

The other thing that's going on right now is that we're insulating the icebox that is our living room. Last months' bathroom renovation was my first ever big house project, and this is my second, and I'm noticeably more comfortable with the process this time around. I'd hire these contractors again. Well, I should wait until it's all done before I pat myself too firmly on the back, but so far I have high hopes... and, of course, much less money than I started with.

Painting is the next thing. I had no good ideas, but people on gplus made good suggestions and we have five kinds of light grey paint to start splodging on walls tomorrow.

So, childbirth, insulation and light grey walls. Are these the riveting topics I expected to be talking about at age thirty four and three quarters? Would you like to hear about how we're changing health insurance providers at work too? Aw, I might be feeling a bit wistful for what I was doing this time last year, because I ended up spending hours on art.com looking at pictures of train stations. Don't you just want to go whereever this lady is going?

I got a print of her, and one of this, and they'll keep me going until it's time to travel again.
noideadog: (Default)
Stress! So, I know I went on about thank you notes and that kind of malarkey a few months ago, but seriously, internets, I need your help!

Two of my dad's friends gave us wedding presents: a set of candlesticks and a crystal picture frame. We opened them and noted down carefully who gave us what, then gave them back to my mum to put in a suitcase in the attic until we're back in Ireland again. My dad asked me to call the friends straight away to say thank you (they're people who are important to him in a business context as well as friends, so it was pretty important to him), but it was the day before our wedding and I didn't have the brain cycles. To be honest, I have a horror of social phone calls at the best of times, especially with people I don't really know. How do you know when to hang up? I promised to send a note instead. I meant it!

I made two copies of the 'who gave us what stuff' list, and, using my enormous brain, immediately lost them both. I think I'm usually pretty deterministic, so it's now inconceivable to me that I didn't commit this information to the internet, but a search of the usual places has shown up nothing. I guess I had a lot to think about at the time. Still, this is pretty bizarre behaviour. What the hell, me?

Anyway, we've now been married five months. Five months! During these five months, I have thought about how I owe these people thank you cards around once every two weeks. Every time I've been a bit more stressed about it, and every time I have entirely failed to figure out what to do about it. By now the passing thought of it makes my stomach clench a bit, and my brain immediately rushes to find something else to think about. This is the most ridiculous thing that has ever made me stressed out and yet somehow, somehow that doesn't help.

So I resolved this evening to fix it. I would send something, even something shit, and this burden would be gone from my life and I could experience real joy again, undistracted by the crushing weight of the consequences of my own inaction. (Or something. I was getting a bit melodramatic at this point of explaining the situation to the cat). I asked the internet for wording for thank you notes and site after site told me that I needed to have sent these within four weeks of the wedding or I'm an appalling person who doesn't deserve nice people in my life. Which, yeah, thanks Internet. I needed that kind of support. GOD. WHAT DO I DO? Ok. Ok.

This is the bullshit note I have written. I will duplicate it and send it to both my dad's friends.

Dear X,

This card is way overdue, but we wanted to say thanks a million for thinking of us on our wedding day. It was really lovely of you and we love the present. We hope to see you when we're back in Ireland in March, or give us a shout if you're ever visiting New York!

Best wishes,

Tanya and Joel

How carefree it sounds! I'll buy stamps on the way to work tomorrow and write cards in the office, but is it completely obvious that I don't know what they gave us? Can you suggest a better way of saying this stuff? It's extra difficult because candlesticks are plural and a picture frame is singular, do you see? Also, I can't remember what either look like and my parents aren't enthused about climbing into the attic to find out. (Also, yes, really, I know this is stupid. (No, you're defensive.))
noideadog: (brain)
I asked about freezing my gym membership this morning, and got talking about the reason for it: honeymooning in the Cheeselands. Gym lady reckons I shouldn't go to France. Really?, I ask. Well, she wouldn't, anyway. She used to like their culture, she says, but not any more. She doesn't like their attitude. I can't think of anything polite to say so I say nothing. And make sure to insist on a big car, she adds. They have little tiny cars there, so you have to ask if you want to get a car that's comfortable.

She has never been to France. Did that go without saying? (My money says that she has never met a French person. ) This kind of uninformed bias is surprisingly common, even in New York. I vow to start calling people on this bullshit, in the same way as I call people on it in Ireland when they say that all Americans are stupid. No more, people. No more.

Tanya, wishing everyone would just be friends since 1978.
noideadog: (shutup)
I went to Ikea without a clear get-in-and-get-out strategy. Bad idea, right? Even worse:

I went to Ikea without a clear get-in-and-get-out strategy on a Saturday.

Was I insane at the time? Well, yes, apparently so, because...

I went to Ikea without a clear get-in-and-get-out strategy on a Saturday with my mother and my mother-in-law when I was already a bit tired. The curtain-buying department is probably the busiest and most annoying department of that busy and annoying establishment, so of course that's what we were there for.

What the holy hell was I thinking? I'm still recovering.
noideadog: (Default)
The internet says that the best way of getting rid of out-of-date olive oil is to seal it in a plastic container and throw out the container. (Maybe some day it will be possible to go back in time and not buy the olive oil. Environmental issues will be so much easier when we have time travel.) For now, I'm wondering whether this really means that my best bet is buying a big plastic water bottle, drinking the water, filling the bottle with oil, and putting that into the bin. Ugh, I truly hate the problem of Stuff. Matter disintegrators, now, please.
noideadog: (shutup)
Tasks postponed don't get easier; that is today's lesson. And, god, a pungent lesson it was, as I finally hauled a half-barrel of swamp through the window, across the living room and into the kitchen sink. Vile, vile, vile. I earned this joy, of course: when Lemon Tree moved to a bigger planter, back in Spring, I left the old pot out on the fire-escape, hoping that, I don't know, maybe someone would steal it. Heavy ceramic pot, no drainage, no plants, lots of city rain. We probably grew some lovely cholera.

The word "fetid" would not be out of place here. (The word "delightful" would be apologising for ringing the wrong doorbell). Ten pints of slime drained through perforated plastic bags have terrorised the next generation of drain-dwelling fruit flies. "Tell us again about the Big Smell, grandma!", they'll say. "Oh, children, I'll never forget it".

A black bag of sludge is splayed out in our kitchen, daring me to find something to do with it. The bins aren't collected until tomorrow. How did I not think of this in advance? It is illegal to put household waste in the city rubbish bins, but I think I'll have to break the law today. Sorry, city.

The cat just came over to help, froze, raised her eyebrows, asked "Are you fucking serious?" and raced back to the windowsill. I'm on my own with this one.
noideadog: (nyc)
Things I love about living in New York


  • High quality food. Bad restaurants don't last long in New York, and whatever cuisine you want, there's usually one inside a couple of blocks. No matter what you're looking for, it's available here, and it's cheap, and it probably delivers. Pretty much all restaurants will deliver, and it will still cost less than buying groceries. If we ever leave New York, this is what I'll miss most.

  • Human diversity. I could sit and watch people go by all day. And listen to people too. You can hear all the languages there are just by walking around. If you wanted genetic diversity to seed a new planet, taking any subway car would probably do fine.

  • The dedicated pursuit of the ridiculous. Not just the easter bonnet parade and the zombie parade and the other things that block off 5th Avenue for a day, but the privately organised madness. Here's a sample from an events list I'm on:
    "Michael Jackson Cut-Off Shorts Extravaganza-Bonanza",
    "What Cheer? Brigade Chaotic marching band.
    "Hollow Man Levitate ... incorporates somnambulism, the angel of death, a video projection, and eating hamburgers underwater.
    "Monduna: A Robot Masquerade It's a graphic novel where the story is you. Robot costume strongly suggested."
    "The Pirate's Life: This Saturday, we are taking over a three level ferry boat docked on a secret canal in the bowels of Brooklyn for an all-night adventure of performance, pillaging, stiff drinks and dancing girls."
    "Pretty in Pink 80s Prom"
    "Pucks Multimedia Mischief: stolen brushes, hammered dulcimers, video cameras, passionate voices, sparkling clothes, tables that dream, interactive art installations, confetti cannons"
    "Flashwalk: A five-borough, two-footed trek from Brooklyn to Staten Island."
    "Natural Born Grillers"
    "It’s About the Numbers, Baby! a one-of-a-kind tutorial in how to win at games of chance."
    "Science for Art Majors: Cellular Biology, etc., Why do we breath? Why don't we fall apart? How is shit made? and so on. Things to maybe bring: blanket/chair, umbrella, notepad."
    "Aerial Open Work Out. Come play in 29 feet of vertical fun. Use our silks, lyras, and trapezes, or rig your own."
    "Williamsburg Spelling Bee, compete for bar tab at a real adult spelling bee, every other MONDAY,"
    "NYC Bike Polo. No experience needed. We'll show you how to play."

    Etc, etc, etc. This is just a small subset of the events on the list for this week.

  • Being the center of the universe. (Ok, mostly I mean being in the center of the universe, but an inflated sense of one's own importance is an important factor in surviving in this city.) As for the city, this is where everything happens. If you're looking for an organisation or a seller or a concert, chances are it's in New York. You don't need to go to other places; anything that doesn't already live here will come by on tour.

  • The organisation. Everything just works. There's a street fair somewhere different every week, and the city doesn't shut down in traffic chaos. The public transport runs 24h. The post office at 34th and 8th is open 24h. Lots of things are recycled, and there's a website that explains what is and why other things aren't. It's all mostly sane.

    Things I hate about living in New York

  • High fructose corn syrup in everything. It's illegal, I think, to make things that don't have corn in them, and you get a tax break if you can make the corn cause obesity. I've heard. Unless you go to some hippy place, you're getting corn in everything you buy.

  • Self flushing toilets. They don't just flush when you stand up; they flush if you've been sitting for more than 30 seconds. You don't want to sit down on the edge to tie your shoelace is what I'm saying. It makes me so! angry!

  • Tipping. Ok, I get that you tip for taxis, beer, hairdressers (individually for the person who cuts your hair and the person who washes it), moving companies, masseuses, doormen, maintenance people, and anyone who provides a service, even if the only thing you're paying for is the service they're providing, and you'll never see them again. But what constitutes a service? Do you tip a civil engineer? Do you tip a courier? Do you tip at the dry cleaners? Who the hell knows? And how do you give someone two dollars without feeling like a swaggering baron giving alms to the little people? Oh my god I hate it so much.

  • Tourists, everywhere, all the time. Yes, yes, that's a most attractive bridge. and those buildings sure are tall. WALK FASTER, ASSHOLES.

  • Dublin is so far away. Why can't we have Dublin where Jersey is?
noideadog: (drum)
I am traumatised. I thought my name was unusual enough that it would never come to this. For the record, in case it is ever, ever unclear: this is not me. Thank you for your time.

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February 2014

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